Keith calls for ban on battery cage eggs

9 March 2012

Keith has today sent a letter to local press recognising the improvements to laying hen welfare which were brought in at the beginning of the year and detailing his work towards a ban on all battery cages.

Dear Editor,

I'm sure many of your readers will enjoy an egg in the morning. So
they may be interested to know that an important change takes place
this month, affecting the millions of hens who lay the eggs that we
boil, fry and scramble.

As of 1st January it is illegal to farm hens in barren battery cages
anywhere in the European Union. As a member of the European Parliament
and a free-range egg buyer, I welcome this important piece of
legislation that outlaws the worst kind of confinement for hens.

Recent research carried out by the RSPCA found that 91 per cent of
people in the South East of England had not heard about the new law
and a quarter of people wrongly guessed that the new law will mean
that all battery cages are banned or that all hens will be free range.
Sadly this is not the case and so I believe that the new law does not
go far enough.

It still allows the so-called ‘enriched' battery cage to be used. This
provides additional benefits to hens, such as a perch and scratching
area, but it is still a cage that restricts many of their natural
behaviours. The Green Party opposes all kinds of intensive farming and
believes these cages should also be banned.

A further concern is that despite all producers in the UK being ready
for the new law, many farms across the EU are not yet compliant,
meaning illegal eggs could end up in food products we eat here in the
UK, such as cakes, quiches and mayonnaise. I've raised this issue with
the European Commission and have called on them to impose financial
penalties and implement a trade ban to stop any illegal eggs being
exported from countries which have failed to implement the new law.

To ensure you're eating eggs from non-caged hens, join me in choosing
eggs labelled: Free-range, Barn or Organic. I hope you'd agree that
they leave a good taste in your mouth.

Yours sincerely,

Keith Taylor
Green MEP for South East England

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